Blame. “I’m (uncomfortable/mad/hurt/not happy) and it’s your fault.” That means that I’m not taking ownership of myself and my life experiences. I have given that power to you. I have disempowered myself and have made you the reason for my anger and unhappiness.
Isn’t that sometimes what we do? Fall into the blame game…making others responsible for our lives? Sometimes others blame us as well, making us responsible for their problems. It’s happened to all of us, blaming and being blamed.
Blaming is the opposite of having self-accountability and living a self-empowered life. It creates self-righteousness and makes someone else wrong. Consistent blaming…well that’s just a great way to end a relationship.
The formula to stop blaming is awareness + accountability = empowerment.
Self-awareness is truly knowing yourself. “I can see that I’m mad. But what do I really feel? Hurt? Scared? Ashamed? Betrayed? What’s the real reason?” Being self-aware of your true feelings is like peeling the layers of an onion…one layer at a time.
Self-accountability is taking ownership of how you process (internalize) and then act out (project) your life experiences. It’s acknowledging that you have the freedom to make choices that have positive and negative consequences and accepting those consequences. Essentially, it’s adulting.
Blame happens when you’re deflecting from uncomfortable emotions and feelings and making someone else responsible. Fear, sadness, shame, hurt…these all make you feel vulnerable and as, Brene’ Brown describes it, blame is an “inverse relationship with accountability, and accountability is a vulnerable process.”
Being “triggered” is a signal that you have some unresolved subconscious issue. You might want to see being triggered as a gift. Not a gift that “feels good” but a gift that brings you closer to knowing yourself. You might want to reactively throw it back as blame but diving a little deeper will give you some self-awareness and a richer connection with yourself. Here’s how:
- Notice when you’ve been triggered by something someone said or did…and how your reactive fight or flight hormones have kicked in.
- Notice that you’re blaming someone else for that trigger.
- Be aware that discharging blame is deflecting from a deeper issue and is a loss of your power.
- Take some time away from the situation and do some writing or journaling to gain some clarity. Why are blaming someone else for your feelings? Ask yourself, “What am I really upset about here?” Then rewrite it take self-accountability. Try to see where you’re giving your power away. See it from an alternate angle. For example:
Blamer: “I’m unhappy and it’s my partner’s fault. I could be happy if she would just act right and do what I want her to do.”
Self-Ownership(er): I’m unhappy…and it’s my fault. What can I do to find more joy in my life? How can I quit making my partner responsible for my happiness?
- Finally, if you’ve blamed, go to the person and apologize. Own your experiences and let them know that you deflected some of your stuff by blaming them. When you apologize and take accountability for your choices, your reactions and your life, that’s when you take back your power.
My hope is that you’ll start to see blame differently from now on. That you’ll notice it as a loss of your power. That you’ll process your reaction and then turn it around quickly and show up self-empowered, self-aware, and self-accountable. Owning your life and this type of showing up for yourself is what will lead you toward standing in your authentic power, of which the world needs from all of us.